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The Rat Pack Come Swinging By Again

By kateclarke  |  Posted: November 29, 2013


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Kate Clarke speaks to Mark Adams, who summons up Dean Martin in the Rat Pack show, at Swansea’s Grand Theatre, Wednesday, December 4, 7.30pm.

"AFTER ten years of doing Rat Pack shows I have probably sung That's Amore more times than Dean Martin did," says Mark Adams.

The former PE teacher turned jobbing stage and screen actor can be found, with Stephen Triffitt and George Daniel Long, in the Rat Pack show next week, summoning up Dino's sunny glissando with glee.

He says inhabiting Martin's persona every night is a pleasure.

"Persona is the right word to describe the Dean Martin we know from the Rat Pack Shows. I think he put on the character of Dean Martin because he was looking for a new direction after his partnership with Jerry Lewis came to an end.

"The public saw him as a 'where's the booze, where are the girls, where is the party?' kind of man. "But in fact he was a family man who liked to go to bed early so he could be up in the morning and out on the golf course."

More a fan of Frank Sinatra's oboe tones, Mark admits he had a little blind spot where Dean was concerned, until he took on the role.

"I had a lot of Frank Sinatra records and CDs, but no Dean Martin.

"Now I see him as one of the great entertainers but I don't think even he rated his voice very highly. He saw Sinatra, Como and Bennett as being in a league apart, while he was an entertainer. But what I love about them as a group is that there seems to have been no professional jealously.

"They remained friends until the end of their lives."

Of course if you buy into the Rat Pack you don't do so just for the voices, you do so for that spark they shared; for that private joke they always seemed be on the verge of sharing.

Mark says while they can't claim to have those bonds, he and his co-performers on this show, do share a sympatico.

"I have been working with Steven and George for 10 years, so we have a friendship and with this show it is very much in the style of those Rat Pack shows, where if we want to stop the band and have a chat or joke around we do it.

"It is informal because we don't want it to sound rehearsed and stilted.

"Also when you think about it, those Rat Pack performances of Frank and Dean and Sammy were pretty few. They did six weeks at The Sands and they went away and did their own things, made records, made movies, and came back together from time to time.

"But I have sung Dean Martin songs many thousands of times.

"And the beauty of it is that you could keep doing it for years because those singers didn't push their voices too hard most of the time.

"They came out of the Bing Crosby style of singing where the microphone was your friend, and they performed into their later years."

Those glory days of The Rat Pack might have long since gone, but, says Mark, there will never be a time when they aren't a part of our lives.

"The music will never go away because as soon as you hear it you think, 'yes, that is the essence of cool'.

"And Frank, Dean and Sammy? I think they might fade if something better comes along. But that doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.

"Those people didn't just become stars. They worked for years to become the great singers and performers they are. Sammy was in a band with his family when he was three years old. Frank was signing with The Harry James and The Tommy Dorsey orchestras for years in the early days. They put in the work. It doesn't happen that way now."

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